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FAMILY OF JESUS
“Indeed, God chose Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people of their time. They are descendants of one another. And God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Remember when the wife of Imran said, ‘My Lord! I dedicate what is in my womb entirely to Your service, so accept it from me. You alone are truly the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’ When she delivered, she said, ‘My Lord! I have given birth to a girl,’—and God fully knew what she had delivered— ’and the male is not like the female. I have named her Mary, and I seek Your protection for her and her offspring from Satan, the accursed.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 33 TO 36
Jesus was from the noble family of Imran, a family chosen by God. Mary’s mother, Hannah, wanted a boy as she felt a male would be more dutiful and of service to the Divine. God, however, sends a powerful timeless message. Women’s servitude to God is equal to a man’s.
In fact, women have many abilities that men do not have. They can give birth and nurture future generations of pious believers. The status of a person before God is not based on their gender, wealth, beauty, lineage, intellectual capabilities, physical strength, power or anything else material.
“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 16, VERSES 97
Rather, it is God consciousness that elevates a person. In many societies, sons are unjustly preferred over daughters for many reasons, the main one being that the family name and lineage is passed on from sons and not daughters. In the case of Mary’s parents, having a daughter elevated their family name. Mary is mentioned throughout the Qur’an; she is mentioned more than Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them). One of the chapters of the Qur’an is named after her and another is named after her father. Her son, Jesus, is mentioned with the honorific title: Son of Mary.
Mary was chosen as a role model for humanity’s spiritual growth. We cannot truly understand Jesus until we understand Mary and her story.
“And remember when the angels said, ‘O Mary! Surely God has selected you, purified you, and chosen you over all women of the world. O Mary! Be devout to your Lord, prostrate yourself in prayer and bow along with those who bow down.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 42 TO 43
God’s plan will always manifest itself. Mary was being prepared for something extraordinary. Mary was loved by everyone.
She was known for her wisdom, innocence and piety. She spent her time in prayer, contemplation and learning Divine scripture. Mary witnessed miracles such as the appearance of fruit which was out of season.
“Mention in the Quran the story of Mary. She withdrew from her family to a place to the east and screened herself off from them. Then We sent to her Our angel Gabriel appearing before her as a man, perfectly formed.
She appealed, ‘I truly seek refuge in the Most Compassionate from you! So leave me alone if you are God-fearing.’ He responded, ‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, sent to bless you with a pure son.’
She wondered, ‘How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me, nor am I unchaste?’ He replied, ‘So will it be! Your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me. And so will We make him a sign for humanity and a mercy from Us. It is a matter already decreed.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 19, VERSES 16 TO 21
While Mary was in her chamber, God announced to her that she would have a blessed son. Mary was startled, and questioned how could she be pregnant without intimate contact.
God reminded her that He has power over all things, and nothing can stop His will. God can do anything. He does not need material causes to be in place. The miracles she had witnessed throughout her life and her close relationship with God prepared Mary for this miraculous conception.
“We recite all this to you O Prophet as one of the signs and as a wise reminder. Indeed, the example of Jesus in the sight of God is like that of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be!’ And he was! This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 3,VERSE 58 TO 60
The birth of Jesus was indeed extraordinary when compared to what we are familiar with, yet in the human story something similar had already occurred at its very outset.
Adam was created without a father or a mother. Jesus, like Adam, was a direct creation of God, not His son. From a purely scientific and naturalistic point of view, a virgin birth may not make much sense yet claims are made that life arose from a primordial lifeless soup! It is easier to believe life came from life, than to believe life came from non-life. God is reminding us that He is not restricted by anything. We should not be in doubt about this miraculous event.
“And so it was ordained: she conceived him. She withdrew to a distant place and, when the pains of childbirth drove her to [cling to] the trunk of a palm tree, she exclaimed, ‘I wish I had been dead and forgotten long before all this!’ but a voice cried to her from below, ‘Do not worry: your Lord has provided a stream at your feet and, if you shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you, it will deliver fresh ripe dates for you, so eat, drink, be glad, and say to anyone you may see: ‘I have vowed to the Lord of Mercy to abstain from conversation, and I will not talk to anyone today.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 19, VERSE 22 TO 26
Childbirth is one of the most painful experiences that a human being can go through. God took care of Mary as a child, and now that she is in this pain, he arranges for her provisions and consoles her.
Islam honours the mother due to her hardships. A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of God, who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?’ the Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man said, ‘Then who?’ the Prophet said, ‘Then your mother.’ The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ the Prophet said, ‘Then your mother.’ The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ the Prophet said, ‘Then your father.’
DEFENDING HIS MOTHER
“Then she returned to her people, carrying him. They said in shock, ‘O Mary! You have certainly done a horrible thing! O sister of Aaron! Your father was not an indecent man, nor was your mother unchaste.’ So she pointed to the baby. They exclaimed, ‘How can we talk to someone who is an infant in the cradle? ’Jesus declared, ‘I am truly a servant of God. He has destined me to be given the Scripture and to be a prophet. He has made me a blessing wherever I go, and bid me to establish prayer and give alms-tax as long as I live, and to be kind to my mother. He has not made me arrogant or defiant. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I will be raised back to life!’ That is Jesus, Son of Mary. And this is a word of truth, about which they dispute.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 19, VERSES 27 TO 34
Some of the people of the town thought the worst when Mary returned with the baby in her arms. They accused her of fornication.
Jesus’s first miracle was to talk as a baby and defend his mother and announce his mission and purpose to the world. Mary’s trust in God is to be taken note of. She is surrounded by a hostile
environment yet she does not flinch in her reliance on God.
MIRACLES OF JESUS
“He will send him as a messenger to the Children of Israel: ‘I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I will make for you a bird from clay, breathe into it, and it will become a ‘real’ bird—by God’s Will. I will heal the blind and the leper and raise the dead to life—by God’s Will. And I will prophesize what you eat and store in your houses. Surely in this is a sign for you if you truly believe. And I will confirm the Torah revealed before me and legalize some of what had been forbidden to you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so be mindful of God and obey me. Surely God is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him alone. This is the Straight Path.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 49 TO 51
According to the Qur’an and the Bible, Jesus performed amazing miracles. Both books directly link those miracles to God’s power, so Jesus did miracles only with God’s permission and authority as he himself was just a human. There are unique miracles mentioned in the Qur’an that are not found in the Bible. One of these is when Jesus formed a clay bird and then blew into it and it became a real bird by God’s permission.
HUMAN VS. GOD’S NATURE
“The Messiah, Son of Mary, was no more than a messenger. Many messengers had come and gone before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They both ate food. See how We make the signs clear to them, yet see how they are deluded from the truth! Say, O Prophet,’How can you worship besides God those who can neither harm nor benefit you? And God alone is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 5, VERSES 75 TO 76
Some people worship Jesus and claim he is God. Some even venerate Mary excessively by erecting statues of her and seeking blessings from her. However, anything that has a need (like a human being requiring food) cannot be God, as God is the creator and sustainer of all, and could not possibly be dependent.
Messengers are supposed to be living examples of how we can live our lives according to God’s guidance, which is why they need to be human like us. Since they have desires and weakness which they overcome in order to obey God, it shows us that we can accomplish that also. If the messengers were angelic beings or “gods”, then they could not be practical examples of what humans could achieve. Ultimately, the precious and priceless gift of life and all the things we have are dependent on God. This should make us grateful and direct all our worship to God alone.
“O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about God except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of God and the fulfilment of His Word through Mary and a spirit created by a command from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say, “Trinity.” Stop!—for your own good. God is only One God. Glory be to Him! He is far above having a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And God is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 4, VERSE 171
Jesus is highly regarded in Islam. He is one of the greatest messengers of God. However, he is neither God nor the Son of God; rather, he was sent by God.
The Qur’an makes it clear that the Trinity and other such concepts are alien to God’s revelations. This makes sense when one looks at early Christianity as there was much dispute in the first three
centuries after Christ about who he was.
The mainstream conception of the Trinity is based on the idea of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person in the Trinity is individual, however they are all supposedly eternal and co-equal, and each one of them is fully God.
The second person of the Trinity, the Son, took on human flesh in the bodily form of Jesus. Jesus is said to be both fully God and fully man. As a result of the incarnation, humanity has been permanently incorporated into the Godhead.
The Godhead, the Son, after incarnation changed to include the “inseparable divine and human” nature. Jesus will now forever exist in heaven as a glorified man and God at the same time. Before the incarnation, the Son had a purely divine nature.
After incarnation, the Son, as God, became the Son, as inseparably God and human. If God’s nature really is Trinitarian, then God’s nature has changed according to Christianity. This contradicts Biblical doctrine that God is “everlasting” (Psalm 93:2) and “does not change” (James 1:17). This is a serious theological and philosophical problem for Trinitarians
“Say, O believers, ‘We believe in God and what has been revealed to us; and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants; and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and other prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them. And to God we all submit.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 2, VERSE 136
Jesus, just like the prophets before him, came to call people to the worship of God alone. His message was not some strange new religion. He did not preach his divinity or the concept of the Trinity
God has been sending prophets for millennia with the same message. It does not make sense that He radically changed His message with concepts such as the Trinity and Jesus being the Son of God. Jesus preached what the other prophets preached; worship God alone.
“Then in the footsteps of the prophets, We sent Jesus, Son of Mary, confirming the Torah revealed before him. And We gave him the Gospel containing guidance and light and confirming what was revealed in the Torah—a guide and a lesson to the God-fearing.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 5, VERSE 46
God has sent messengers with divine scriptures throughout history. The purpose of the Injeel [Gospel] was to call people back to the worship of God alone. The original teachings of Jesus were not entirely preserved, and later biographers documented his words in varying forms. Different accounts were written for different audiences in different places, hence resulting in conflicting reports. Muslims believe the current Gospels in the New Testament may contain some of the original teaching of Jesus Christ in an altered form.
“Say, ‘[God says], My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 39, VERSE 53
The current Christian theology holds that, in order for humanity to have salvation, a blood sacrifice is necessary. The ultimate sacrifice is for God to come down in the form of His son so He could be killed on the cross. Hence, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
This theology is problematic. Firstly, it implies that God punishes His own son, who is innocent, for the sins of others, which is unjust. Secondly, it limits God by saying He “needs” to make a sacrifice, whereas God does not “need” to do anything. If He wants to forgive sins He can simply forgive them. All we need to do is seek His pardon.
“Remember when God said, ‘O Jesus! I will take you and raise you up to Myself. I will deliver you from those who disbelieve, and elevate your followers above the disbelievers until the Day of Judgment. Then to Me you will all return, and I will settle all your disputes.’ ’’
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 55
Throughout Jesus’s time on earth, he was honoured by God. God also chose to honour his followers until the end of days.
The true followers of Jesus are those who do not go to extremes regarding him. They believe that Jesus was a human being, a Prophet and Messenger, the promised Messiah to the Children of Israel. They also reject the belief that he is God, part of God or the Son of God.
SAVED FROM DEATH
“They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him– God raised him up to Himself. God is Almighty, the All-Wise.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 4, VERSES 157 TO 158
Jesus was seen as a threat by the religious establishment in Jerusalem at the time.
He was allegedly, according to the Gospels, arrested and crucified by the Roman authorities. The Muslim view, however, is that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified but people started to believe so. Interestingly, some early Christians did not believe that Jesus was crucified or killed, rather it was someone called Simon of Cyrene who died on the cross.
THE PIETY OF JESUS
“Jesus, seeing a man stealing, asked him, ‘Did you steal?’ He said, ‘No, by God, except Whom there is none who has the right to be worshipped’ Jesus said, ‘I believe in God and suspect my eyes.’”
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM)
Jesus was a man of upright character and phenomenal principles. From the preceding narration we learn about the reverence and love Jesus had for God.
When God was sworn by, Jesus was willing to deny what he possibly saw with his own eyes, therefore putting God before everything. Along with this we are taught a very powerful principle. We should think good of others. Be positive and assume the best and do not let negativity create a rift between you and your brothers and sisters in humanity.
THE COMING OF THE FINAL PROPHET
“And remember when Jesus, Son of Mary, said, ‘O children of Israel! I am truly God’s messenger to you, confirming the Torah which came before me, and giving good news of a messenger after me whose name will be Ahmad.’ Yet when the Prophet came to them with clear proofs, they said, ‘This is pure magic.’”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 61, VERSE 6
Ahmad was one of the names of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Jesus predicted that someone would come after him.
Even in the remnants of the Gospel that we have today, Jesus is recorded to have said that God would send someone after him (John 16:7). In the Old Testament there are also references to a prophet from Arabia from the descendants of Abraham
“Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the Son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM)
Although they may seem worlds apart, Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad are both brothers in faith! Their mission was the same: calling people back to God.
They are also close in sense that they are the final prophets to humanity. Approximately one fourth of humanity is Muslim, and all Muslims believe that Jesus was one of the greatest prophets. Prophet Muhammad introduced Jesus to a large portion of humanity who were unaware of him. This is coupled with the fact that when Jesus returns he will judge by the law of the Qur’an and will be a leader of the Muslims.
“By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely [Jesus], the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly.”
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM)
Near the end of time, the earth will be rife with war, corruption and disbelief.
At the forefront of this chaos will be a powerful yet evil leader who will rule and mislead people by performing what looks like miracles. He will be a one eyed king and will claim that he is God; he will be the Antichrist.
The Prophet Muhammad mentioned that at this time Jesus will return. He will physically come down to earth from the heavens and will defeat the AntiChrist and rule as a just ruler for a period of time.
“And God will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to people, “Worship me and my mother instead of God?”’ He will say, ‘Glory be to You! It is not for me to say what I have no right (to say). If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is (hidden) in myself and I do not know what is in Yours. Indeed, You are the Knower of the unseen.’ I did not tell them except what You commanded me, Worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I was among them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things. If You punish them, they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, indeed You are the Almighty, the All-Wise.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 5, VERSES 116-118
The consistent message with which Jesus and all messengers came is that nothing is worthy of worship except God.
All other good deeds are nullified if someone associates partners with God. Jesus will testify against those who worship him or call him the Son of God. Salvation lies in accepting the fact that none has to the right to be worshipped besides God. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever says ‘there is nothing worthy of worship but God’ enters Paradise”.
MUHAMMAD AND JESUS
“Whoever attests that there is nothing worthy of worship except God, that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, that Jesus is His servant, Prophet, and word which He placed in Mary – and that he is a spirit from Him – and whoever confesses that heaven and hell exist, him will God allow to enter Paradise according to his deeds.”
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM)
In order to be a Muslim, one has to accept and acknowledge that Jesus was indeed a messenger of God, a Spirit from Him, and that he was born of a virgin and was a prophet.
Paradise is the reward for the true followers of Christ, since any true follower of Jesus would recognise the truth of the Qur’an and the prophethood of Muhammad:
“When they listen to what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears for recognizing the truth. They say, ‘Our Lord! We believe, so count us among the witnesses. Why should we not believe in God and the truth that has come to us? And we long for our Lord to include us in the company of the righteous.’ So God will reward them for what they said with gardens under which rivers flow, to stay there forever. And that is the reward of the good-doers.”
THE QUR’AN, CHAPTER 5, VERSES 83-85